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Benefits of Aquafitness 

Benefits of the Magical Properties of Water

A.      CALA Aquafitness Movements Use the 5 Properties of Water.

Learn more about: Buoyancy, Thermal Connectivity, Hydrostatic Pressure, Turbulence, Resistance.  In short, you are getting a complete overall full body workout, without the impact to your joints, you won’t get hot, you won’t get nearly as winded, the risk of DOMS (the muscle soreness the next day) is greatly reduced, and you are having fun! You have an effective way to get a complete overall workout without feeling like you have.

There are so many benefits to exercising in water that it is worth the first-class experience because you are learning how your body works, how to use your body effectively without the normal stresses that gravity and exertion normally put us through.

Water workouts are a great way to get fit and to keep fit! The unique physical properties of water provide an ideal environment for exercise. The natural buoyancy of water reduces weight bearing stress, allowing greater ease of movement with less strain on bones, joints, and muscles. The increased density of water creates even and fluid resistance in all directions, comfortably toning and strengthening muscles with greater balance and efficiency. Turbulence, hydrostatic pressure, buoyancy, resistance and thermal conductivity are all properties that make water a magical environment in which to move.

B.      Who Benefits? Everyone Who Tries It!

  • All Ages - youth through older adults Males and females, regardless of abilities

  • Athletes such as: runners and marathoners, football, basketball, soccer, rugby players, swimmers, weight lifters, walkers, gymnasts, skiers, dancers and cross-training.

  • Health and wellness conscious people

  • Rehabilitation patients ex: breast cancer, accident recovery, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, parkinson, spinal injuries, balance/stability/coordination development, gait training, cardio, sport injuries and joint rehabilitation

  • Weight, strength, stature and mobility challenged people Pre and post natal

  • Fitness enthusiasts

  • Persons looking for cross training

  • Persons who are unable to exercise due to weather conditions

1. Aquafit is for everyone Not every fitness class can claim to be for everyone. Some classes are too easy for some, and too difficult for others. Some are way too sweat-inducing for people. Others are too stressful on the body. Aquafit is perfect for everyone - whether you exercise every week or are getting active for the first time in your life. All fitness levels can take part. You don't need to worry about being a swimmer either. Lessons are purposely held in shallow water so that they're inclusive for all.

2. It's friendly on the joints Exercising on dry land, particularly in activities that involve running, puts strain on joints that impacts the body negatively over time. Repetitive impact causes neck, back and legs to tighten, leaving them more susceptible to injury. That's why it's as important to rest as it is to exercise. Aquafit lifts the gravity forcing weight down on your body and reduces impact on joints by 85 percent.

The low-impact nature of Aquafit makes it a great activity for anyone recovering from injury. It's ideally suited to suffers of chronic joint conditions such as sclerosis or arthritis.

3. You don't get all sweaty A full-body workout that won't make you all red-faced and sweaty. How good is that? It's not that you don't sweat during Aquafit, it's just that water is great at regulating body temperature and wicking away sweat. You'll still be burning those calories, though, so you'll need to keep well hydrated.

4. It's a full-body workout Don't let a lack of visible perspiration trick you into thinking you're not doing enough. Just because Aquafit is easy on the joints, doesn't mean you aren't seriously working those muscles. Every movement is Aquafit is met with resistance from the water, which builds muscle and increases flexibility. The extra pressure from the water makes muscles work harder, which in turn makes the heart work harder. And when the heart's pumping, calories are burning.

5. You'll feel better mentally Aquafit improves your mental health. It decreases anxiety and depression and boosts mood. This isn't us just speculating, these benefits were found in a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US.

6. Aquafit is fun and beneficial.  Aquafit is a get together of friends and like-minded people. Everyone's there to enjoy being active and experience healing. The music is good and CALA instructors are upbeat and enthusiastic throughout. Your one hour of exercise flies by but the benefit continues long after the class!

C.      What Are the Benefits of Exercising in Water?

·   Miultiple muscles can be worked at the same time or you can isolate specific muscles.

·   Each participant is able to work at their own intensity unlike land sessions where you feel it is necessary to keep up with the instructor.

·   Participants feel safe in the water. They are not going to fall and hurt themselves- They work in water that is at a level comfortable to them.

D.      Positive Effects of Buoyancy: A Summary 

  • Buoyancy decreases the effects of gravity on movement: An individual who weighs 70 kg on land will weigh about 7 kg in neck deep water. Populations who have load bearing difficulty on land (including obese, frail elderly, arthritic, disabled, injured, and women in the childbearing year, athletes who have been overtraining on land, people with other kinds of painful joint disorders) will exercise in relative comfort and ease in the water.
  • Decreased gravity results in decreased joint loading: When the bones within a joint are not forced together by gravity, the joint may have slightly increased range of motion and movement comfort. CALA vertical water training exercises using “The Charlene Kopansky Method” are designed to encourage full range of motion. The benefits of this include increased joint mobility and resistance to joint injury.
  • The force of buoyancy assists venous return: On land, the downward force of gravity pushes the blood toward the feet. The cardiovascular system must work against gravity to return blood to the heart. In the water, the up-thrust of buoyancy counteracts the downward pull of gravity, assisting venous return. This will contribute to lower exercise heart rates during vertical aquatic training; however, this does not imply that the training effect is lower.
  • The buoyancy of water decreases the amount of shock which is transmitted through the bones/joints/ligaments on landing, while in chest deep water. In deep water, there is no impact, therefore no shock to the body.
  • Buoyancy decreases the effects of gravity: Body weight is reduced by 75– 90% (chest to neck level immersion). An individual who weighs 70kg on land will weigh about 7kg in neck deep water. Special populations including the obese, the elderly who may have fragile bones, the arthritic, the disabled, the injured athlete, as well as pre and post natal women will exercise with relative ease in the water.
  • Range of motion is increased; this improves joint mobility and contributes to dynamic flexibility
  • The force of buoyancy assists in venous return. On land, the downward force of gravity pushes blood toward the feet. The cardiovascular system works against gravity to return blood to the heart. In the water, the up-thrust of buoyancy counteracts the downward pull of gravity thus assisting with venous return. This will contribute to lower exercise heart rates during aqua-fitness!

E.       Positive Effects of Hydrostatic Pressure (HP): A Summary

  • Venous return and cardiac function are greatly enhanced by HP during vertical water training.
  • HP assists participants to exercise more vigorously with less strain on the cardiovascular system and a reduced training heart rate for a given level of exertion (as compared to land exercise). This does not imply that the training effect is lower.
  • HP reduces swelling of injured or edematous (swollen) joints or limbs below the water. This effect is enhanced with greater depth of immersion.
  • The pressure of water on the chest wall creates a training effect for the respiratory muscles. This pressure may be excessive for people with poor respiratory health and /or compromised respiratory system.

F.        Positive Effects of Turbulence: A Summary

  • Currents and eddies in the water massage the skin, promoting circulation, relaxation and increased pain tolerance.

·   Turbulence contributes to the resistance felt in aquatic exercise (see Coefficient of Drag, PD equation, Resistance earlier in this chapter). Turbulence creates an unstable environment encouraging the core muscles of the body to become stronger to maintain correct position and posture. Turbulence can be manipulated to make an exercise easier or harder.

  • The core muscles become stronger as participants learn to stabilize their bodies against turbulence.
  • Balance is challenged and trained by turbulence.
  • Exercises can be designed to work with or against turbulence, thereby increasing or decreasing intensity.
  • Turbulence enhances venous return thus lowering the exercise heart rate as compared to the same exercise intensity on land. This does not imply a lower training effect.

G.       Positive Effects of Thermal Conductivity: A Summary

For all of the following points, it is assumed that vertical water training is being conducted in the appropriate water temperature.

  • The water “wicks” away excess body heat during VWT using the “Charlene Kopansky Method”, creating a cool, comfortable environment for vigorous exercise.
  • Blood that would be shunted to the skin for cooling (on land) is available to the working muscles when exercising in water. It available to deliver oxygen and remove waste products from the working muscles
  • The heart does not have to work as hard as it does on land to assist with thermoregulation of the working body.
  • Pool temperatures can be altered to meet the needs of special groups, from rehabilitation (31° to 37°C / 88° to 98°F), to intense athletic training (around 27°C 82-87F).
  • Water conducts heat approximately 25 times faster than air.
  • The water ‘wicks’ away excess body heat during exercise, creating a cool, comfortable workout environment.


H.       Positive Effects of Waters Resistance: A Summary

  • Pressure Drag: The force and energy required to move through water develops muscle and bone strength as well as cardiovascular and muscular endurance. Remember that the resistance of water will only be effective if limbs are kept under the water when moving.
  • Accommodation: By changing hand / foot configuration, lever lengths, speed or range of motion, the work done during vertical water exercise is readily altered to suit a variety of participant needs.
  • Multidirectional Resistance: Resistance to movement in all directions fosters balanced muscle usage and training. VWT can be classified in a category of “All Gain, No Pain”, according to fellow aqua enthusiast, Irene Wallin, formerly of H2Oz, Australia. Water accommodates all levels of fitness.
  • Action-Reaction Forces (Newton.s Third Law): When proper alignment and movement technique are taught and maintained in vertical water training, many muscle groups must be recruited to stabilize the body. These challenges ultimately develop coordination (an essential component of fitness) as they increase core strength and stability.
  • Dampening Effect: Movements are slower and less likely to be jerky in water.

 The density of water is approximately 1000 times greater than air.

The intensity of the exercise can be increased or decreased by changing hand positions (surface area). The hand positions include the following choices for a participant:

Slice: easiest intensity in terms of surface area

Fist: moderate intensity in terms of surface area

Flat hand: hardest intensity in terms of surface area

Specific hand-held Equipment: has the potential to be a much higher level of intensity in terms of surface area

 The intensity of the workout can be greatly altered by changing shape / size / and, or speed of the moving body parts. Increasing the speed of motion while maintaining surface area and range of motion will cause an exponential increase in the work done.

·   Every movement performed under the water will encounter resistance. This means that the body will meet resistance in every direction of movement.

·   Resistance of water dampens the speed of motion and the end point of each movement thus preventing or diminishing the occurrence of jerky movements and the risk of injury.

·   The energy expenditure in water is similar or greater than on land because more stabilizer muscles are used during water exercise, especially if it is performed while suspended in deep water.


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